In Supreme Court of India
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 66 of 2014
Sunil Kumar Chugh
Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi
Date of Judgement
September 3, 2015
Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice U.D Salvi
1. In this case the appellant were residing in the project area of the developers named Ms.Priyali Builders situated in Bombay.
2. Priyali Builders were carrying out their work for the development of slums in Bombay.
3. An appeal petition was filed by the appellant challenging on the ground that the Environmental Clearance ( EC) that was granted to MsPriyali Builders dated March, 2014. That simply means that the question arises on the Environmental Clearance that was granted to the developers.
4. According to the appellants, violation was of two aspects.
5. The first one is that the official notification clearly assumed that prior Environmental Clearance was necessary for the construction and the building projects in which the built up area is more than 20,000 square metres.
6. Violation in its second aspect was that with the purview of Section 3 of the act which clearly stated that without issuing of the environmental no construction can take place.
- Whether the non-provision of recreational grounds and parking areas was a violation of the Right to Life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution?
- Whether the construction was of illegal nature and in violation of environmental laws?
Appellant clearly contended that developers commenced to their construction without having a Environmental clearance.Ms Priyali Builders continued with the construction for the period of five years illegally without having a environmental clearance.
On the other hand, MaharashtraState Environment Impact Assessment Authority knowingly about the Environmental violations and granted them Environmental clearance to the developers. Appellant also provided that in that area developers had not provided any specific space to the residents for recreational purposes.
The residents in that area were also not provided with the parking ground which resulted into rush while parking vehicles on the streets.
This appeal was submitted by the appellant party regard to the violation of Article 21 of Indian Constitution which guarantees right to life to each and every individual.
On the other hand, the respondents that are Ms P1riyali Builders contended that the area occupied by them for the project was less than 20,000 square meters thus not require any previous clearance as the said limit is not exceeded in terms of area occupied by developers for the project.
Moreover, they also contended that according to the notification staircase along with lift lobby which is included in the construction project did not come under the scope of the definition of build up area.
Therefore, according to the respondent the construction was legal and based upon the protocols prescribed by the law.
The decision given by the National Green Tribunal was in the favor of appellant in the case by stating that gradual increase in the construction industry in Bombay resulted in the infringement of environmental laws along with the infringement of right to life of residents residing in that area under Article 21 of Indian Constitution. By referring Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs Kohinoor City and infrastructure Company Private Limited, 2013, NGT states that the Right to clean and healthy environment is within the scope of Article 21 of Indian Constitution. Therefore, open space consisting of trees grown on that area concerned with the basic requirements of individuals life. By this bench rejected the contentions and argument made by the respondents and made respondent liable for the violation of Article 21 and provisions of Environment protection Act 1986 including various principles of environmental law. After deep analysis of the case with regard to its facts, the honorable bench imposed fine of Rupees 3 Cr. submitted within a fortnight to Environment Relief Fund as by the Public Liability Insurance Act ,1991. Furthermore, directed to pay additional sum of rupees 32, 63600 for having deficient recreational ground to the residents and activating damages to environment. Along with this, instructed developers to submit a fresh plan for the construction which includes appropriate parking and recreational grounds for the residents.
Significance and Critical Analysis of the Judgement:-
According to my view,withthe fast growing construction industry leads to continuing violation of environmental laws and environmental principles which need to be controlled. As per this case, National Green Tribunal through its judgement reflected to the illegal constructions. The honorable Bench also suggested principles with regard to the town planning and recreational grounds. That means developers can’t ignore the necessity of recreational ground as well as parking grounds. Recreational Grounds as well as parking grounds are a part of individuals fundamental Right to life which is guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution. The pronouncement given by Bench also lights up the serious effects of illegal constructions on environment. Along with this, National Green Tribunal ensures that environmental rights are a prominent part of our fundamental rights which comes under the ambit of Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
Edited by Shuvneek Hayer
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje